Trends: Accenting with River Stone Tile

Riverstone 3River stone or natural rock tiles are a great way to add a natural point of interest if you want to create a unique texture, soften a plane of straight lines or bring the outdoors inside. These beautiful stone mosaics are made of whole or cut stones with a wide spectrum of colors, shapes and textures. Buyer beware – like many things you will encounter while selecting finishes, they are captivating – but not practical for everything. River stones should be used where they have purpose in the design aesthetic and enhance a look. The first time I used this type of mosaic, I had an existing handmade quarry tile floor in a sunroom that was about 20 years old, the slab had a crack on the perimeter, cracking the tiles around the entire room, so I was able to remove about a 6” perimeter and add the river rocks after making the concrete repair which saved a high quality floor and also update the look! It worked in this case because: 1) it was a perfect connotation for a room that had plants, indoor outdoor furniture, transitioned the inside and out and 2) quarry tiles are an earthy material and I was able to find a complementary blend of stone color. There are a couple of pros and cons. The first thing to consider is how textural the mosaic is that you choose- some of these river stones have varied thickness- that adds more visual interest, but will not feel great underfoot. I usually ask clients to stand on them in the store without their shoes on before they decide they want them on the floor. The next is that there will be more grout exposed, so that should be selected very carefully and the use of a modified grout that resists stains is imperative. Last is not to use this type of product gratuitously. If you are renovating a kitchen in a mountainous region- the stones would be a fun way to embrace the surroundings. A Penthouse bathroom is probably not the place you want to install too much of Mother Nature in the wrong context. Above is a picture of a project we completed about a year ago- a very modern bath with river stone used to add some Zen to the rigid contemporary lines. This composition is often associated with Pacific Rim design, but fits as well in New England Renovations with the proper selection of colors and placement. Note the use to accentuate the niche and frame the floor (avoiding an uncomfortable footing and getting more value from the texture than if it were used on its own.

Herringbone – A Timeless Pattern

From ancient Rome to modern homes, herringbone can be seen in fabrics, textiles, flooring and wall tile. A herringbone pattern is an arrangement of rectangles or parallelograms set on an angle; it’s named such because it is reminiscent to the bones of a fish. While this pattern is more commonly used in Craftsmen styles, it can add interest and movement without confusing a space when done with certain design ques. Herringbone can be emphasized by using contrasting tile colors to create different effects.


Below are some samples of our projects with the same color tile.  When you select just one color tile, this pattern can be very subtle when installed, as you can see from one of our bathroom renovations in Holliston, MA. Here the pattern works with the large format tile paired with a more modern stacked wall tile. If you want a bit more pop, contrast the tile with a lighter grout like in the slate tiled foyer.


Matching Grout


Contrasting Grout


If you are intrigued by the look but do not want the full pattern, don’t worry herringbone can be a great accent. Here is a simple back-splash inlay above a range in a Wellesley home renovation. The creamy white tile uses the hand-made texture to showcase the pattern change.

CAD Detail

CAD Detail

Finished kitchen

Finished kitchen

If you are not a big fan of herringbone, no worries… there are hundreds of ways to blend color, texture and structure to form the perfect place for you to call home.

What’s Trending in Bathroom Tile

What do subway, glass and large formats have in common?  They are the latest trends in tile that have made their way into almost every bathroom we have recently designed.

Glass subway tile with glass and stone accents

Glass subway tile with glass and stone accents

  • The classic look and reasonable price point typically make subway tile a contenderfor many bathroom remodels.
  • Classic tiles accented with a glass border or focal point can easily be adapted to fit a variety of design styles.
  • Large format tiles are great for achieving a clean, sleek look with minimal grout lines.  The variety of colors, sizes, and textures available is sure to appeal to all.

Whatever the trend, our design team is always ready to deliver the look and functionality that’s ideally suited to our client’s needs. Stop by our showroom to learn more.

Great Looks and Low Maintenance with Unique Tile Design

tileKitchen islands provide so many benefits in the kitchen: from food prep to dropping the groceries after shopping. One of the most enjoyable uses is that of a gathering place around the host (or around Mom & Dad, as is the daily routine at our home). The guests and children sit on stools that have varying degrees of “foot rest” and for the younger socialites this means having a drum on which to kick and pitter-patter against the back of the island. Utilizing interesting tile design in this location offers a great defense against scuff marks. While this may not work in every design, it is definitely worth considering when designing your dream kitchen.